Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Why Did President Obama Endorse Brian Schatz Over Colleen Hanabusa? Minimum Wage


Is it really a mystery why President Obama-- and almost every incumbent Democrat in the Senate, from the most liberal to the most conservative-- have endorsed Brian Schatz for reelection and not corrupt New Dem Colleen Hanabusa? She and her EMILY's List outside agitators are running around like chickens without heads screaming that it's because Schatz backed Obama in 2008 while Hanabusa backed Hillary. If Hanabusa wants to criticize Schatz for backing local hero Barack Obama, she should be aware she's criticizing most Hawaii voters as well. Not only did Hawaii give Obama the biggest percentage of voters of any state, 72%, his popularity has held up better than in any other state as well. His job approval rating is 61.3%.

"I have worked with Senator Schatz on the issues that matter to Hawaii," he explained to voters in Hawaii Monday. "Brian's deep commitment to the people of Hawaii and his effective leadership are why I believe it is important to return him to the Senate. Senator Schatz is protecting Hawaii's values and fighting every day on behalf of middle-class families. There is no question that Senator Schatz is the right choice to continue delivering for Hawaii."

That should be very helpful when EMILY's List starts rolling out the inevitable smear tactics they're so famous for. But in terms of why the president is backing Schatz-- and with such a strong statement-- one has to wonder if it had something to do with Hanabusa working on behalf of the restaurant association to undercut the year long struggle the President and his allies have just spent trying to pass a minimum wage increase to $10.10. Hanabusa sent out an e-mail to her supporters claiming she supports a minimum wage increase, but a lower $9.25 increase that the restaurant owners prefer. The lower rate is also what Susan Collins (R-ME) has been trying to persuade conservative Democrats in the Senate to back, particularly anti-family/pro-corporate Dems like Mark Warner (VA), Mark Pryor (AR) and Tom Carper (DE). Reportedly, Hanabusa's e-mail incensed everyone who's been working so hard to bring together a unified bill and get it passed. Immediately after President Obama endorsed Schatz, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued this statement:
“Senator Schatz is a fine Senator, a steadfast advocate on behalf of Hawaii in the Senate. I endorse him wholeheartedly and support President Obama’s decision to do the same. Brian has proven himself a champion for working families in Hawaii. He has been a leader in efforts to develop clean energy jobs and reduce the impact of climate change, and a strong advocate for ensuring a fair shot for all Americans."
Even a cursory examination of the two voting records shows two very different kinds of Democrats. Hanbusa, even apart from her corruption, is from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Schatz is a proponent of a progressive vision that resonates with people looking for the kind of family-oriented champions like Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Hanabusa and her allies at EMILY's List never stop trying to claim Hanabusa is better for women because she is a woman. But her record shows otherwise.

Schatz has a much better record on women's equality and on women's reproductive health than the conservative Hanabusa ever had on her best day. Comparing their lifetime voting records on ProgressivePunch shows Hanabusa with a crucial vote score of 80.37 and Schatz with a 95.16. His score is the 5th most progressive in the Senate, overall. Hers is a shabby 109th most "progressve." His voting record is tied for first place in 9 crucial areas: Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad, Education, Humanities, & the Arts, Environment, (including Global Warming issues), Family Planning, Government Checks on Corporate Power, Health Care, Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Justice For All, Labor Rights, and War and Peace. That's first place in every one of those categories and the dozens of subcategories associated with each-- scores of 100%.

Compare that to Hanabusa, whose record is… meh, at best. Her lifetime score on War and Peace for example is a horrifying 44.44, at the 191st in Congress, one of the worst Democrats in Washington. The two records just don't compare if you're looking to back a progressive champion instead of a wretched corporate shill who votes for special interests who pay her-- or his husband-- off.

Take a look below at where the two of them stand on issues crucial to Hawai'i Democrats and to progressives nationwide. Please, compare and contrast-- and then think about chipping in here to help make sure Brian keeps the Senate seat blue:

Schatz co-sponsored the Medicare Drug Savings Act to make drug companies pay a rebate to the federal government (supported by AARP and NCPSSM), while Hanabusa is on the record opposing rebates to the federal government.

Schatz has pledged not to raise the retirement age or cut benefits for Social Security or Medicare and co-sponsored the Harkin-Schatz Social Security Enhancement Act, while Hanabusa vted in support of the Simpson Bowles Commission’s recommendations that raised the retirement age and cut benefits for Social Security.

Schatz supported the public option. Hanabusa said had “concerns” about the public option in the 2009 proposed House version of healthcare reform. She was one of the bought-off corporate shills consistently pushing the Affordable Care Act in a more conservative, more Republican direction.

Schatz voted against the FISA extension in December 2012 and called for an investigation into domestic wiretapping this past June. Hanabusa, of course, voted for the FISA extension. It's right up her alley.

And on net neutrality, Schatz said he would not support CISPA due to its “insufficient privacy protections” while Hanabusa voted for CISPA, calling it an “effective compromise” and had “strong use limitations for any shared data."

Early this morning, Schatz, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Water, issued the following statement regarding the State Department’s final supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline permit application:  
"I am certain that encouraging the production of Canadian tar sands-- some of the dirtiest oil in the world-- is not in America’s national interest. As other agencies, Secretary Kerry, and ultimately President Obama review the environmental analysis, I would urge that they conclude that the environmental impacts of this pipeline are simply too high and reject the proposal. Climate change is the challenge of our generation and we need to be moving forward with policies to support clean energy, not backwards with dirty energy like the Keystone pipeline supports."
Don't look for that kind of independent leadership from Colleen Hanabusa... not on this, not on anything. Most unions have endorsed Schatz, one of the few exceptions being the Laborers, who support the Keystone XL Pipeline. In their endorsement process, they wanted Schatz and Hanabusa to bend on the issue. Schatz adamantly refused. Hanabusa, as with everything, equivocated-- and got the endorsement. Last month, LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan released a statement to remind everyone that his union "is a strong supporter of the pipeline. We hope that the President and Secretary Kerry will soon approve it."
"The final environmental analysis of the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline underscores what experts have said for five years: there is no environmental justification to block the construction or operation of the pipeline.

"Following the upcoming public comment period, there are no reasons for further delay. It is time to unlock the good jobs the pipeline will create, which are a lifeline to thousands of working men and women. And it is time to harness the energy that a trusted neighbor can provide and lessen our dependence on oil from unfriendly and often tyrannical regimes.

"There will continue to be extremists in the environmental movement who will try to block safe, job-creating projects to boost their fund-raising efforts, but they do nothing to address the real issue of climate change. They must not deny science. Rather than continuing to wage war on safe projects, we urge them to return to the fight for comprehensive climate change legislation, which is the only way our country and our world will make inroads in the battle against global warming."
If you'd like to make sure Hanabusa does not get into the Senate and that Brian Schatz is reelected, you can contribute directly to his campaign here.

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At 8:07 PM, Blogger Ellde said...

Hanabusa voting pattern would lead everyone to think
that she is a Republican poising as a Democrate! NO


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